Thursday, July 25, 2024

NTC slammed for failure to enforce SIM registration law against POGOs

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has scored the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for its failure to implement provisions of the SIM registration law leading scammers involved in various Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to perpetrate various fraud and scamming activities.

“The NTC should do its job of ensuring effective implementation of the SIM registration law. The goal of this legislation is to provide accountability for those using SIM cards and to support law enforcement in tracking perpetrators of crimes committed through phones. But because the NTC has apparently forgotten its responsibility, scammers in the POGO industry continue to use SIM cards unabatedly,” Gatchalian said.

He noted that one common denominator among POGOs subjected to police raids is the discovery of a significant number of SIM cards that are being used for fraud and scamming purposes.

This is true in the case of the raids conducted against Smartweb Technology Corp. in Pasay City, Zun Yuan Technology located in Bamban, Tarlac, and Lucky South 99 which straddles Porac and Angeles City in Pampanga.

In the case of Zun Yuan, authorities discovered SIM cards bearing false identities, along with various phones and scripts for scamming purposes. Authorities said the SIM cards were being used in undertaking love scams, cryptocurrency scams, and other investment scams.

Aside from SIM cards, the search and seizure operations inside the Lucky South 99 also yielded various phone devices, drugs, and torture devices.

According to Gatchalian, Republic Act 11934, or the SIM Card Registration Act, was legislated into law with the main objective of reducing, if not eliminating, scams perpetrated through text or online messages. Since the law was enacted on October 10, 2022, scamming activities have risen significantly, contrary to expectations.

“SIM registration is an important tool in combating online crimes that make use of a phone. The NTC should stop sleeping on its job so we can realize this goal,” said Gatchalian, who co-authored the SIM Registration Act.

Hindi dapat ipagwalang-bahala ng NTC ang batas at siguraduhin na maayos ang pagpapatupad ng batas na ito ng mga telco operators,” he added.

Gatchalian has been advocating for the closure of POGOs in the country amid increasing incidences of crimes attributed to the industry including human trafficking, illegal detention, kidnapping, and various scamming activities such as love and investment scams that make use of SIM cards.

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